Siemens Industry Sector CEO, Raymond Padayachee, says that the initiative to promote engineering skills and encourage tertiary students to apply theoretical knowledge from the lecture halls in real-world settings has expanded to include a new business development component.
“This is in line with the tertiary sector’s emphasis on producing graduates who not only have the knowledge and skill related to their specific engineering discipline, but who can also operate as business owners, entrepreneurs and experts in the real world of work,” he stated.
“Furthermore, the National Scarce Skills list published by the department of higher education and training earlier this year ranks electrical, civil and mechanical engineers as the top three skills in shortage in South Africa. The Cyber Junkyard competition supports engineering students in their skills development, challenging them to innovate beyond their curriculum.”
The deciding round of this year’s competition will take place on 27 October, with eight teams from tertiary engineering departments across the country now focused on preparing for the final challenge. Winners will be announced on the same day at a gala event.
The challenge requires teams of students at universities of technology and further education and training institutions to design and build engineering solutions to 21st century industry problems. The original format of the engineering competition was changed this year. In previous years, Cyber Junkyard participants had to recreate and improve a prototype innovation supplied by competition sponsor, Siemens. In 2014, students could engineer a solution to any industry problem they chose.
“With the minds of young engineers encouraged to imagine their own solutions to problems they identified themselves, the entries this year are incredibly exciting and diverse,” said Padayachee.
The projects entered this year are a coffee bean toaster, intelligent maintenance assistant, automated cocktail machine, precision and intelligent farming technology, biogas micro / office heating system, cupcake decorating machine, gravity warehousing system, and Microgrid (manufacturing electricity for the future).
These projects aim to demonstrate how technology can be used in future manufacturing processes and do not merely showcase the particular project. The same technologies used in these projects can also be used in other manufacturing processes of the future.
“Siemens set this year’s focus for the Cyber Junkyard competition on innovating for the future of manufacturing,” said Padayachee. “We are looking for projects which demonstrate automation, efficiency, marketability and an application of engineering principles. In the final round in October, the teams will gather to ‘sell’ their innovations to the judging panel of industry leaders.”
On 27 October at Siemens’ Future of Manufacturing Conference and Exhibition, the teams will enter the final round. The morning will see their projects on display for media and delegates, and from midday they will enter the round known as the Industry Arena, where they sell their innovations to a panel of industry judges. That same evening, the winner will be announced at a gala event.
The competing teams were given a list of possible equipment they could use, from which they were allowed to choose up to R50 000 worth of equipment sponsored by Siemens. They were also allowed to obtain sponsorships to a further total of R50 000 to purchase additional equipment not available within Siemens. The teams received training and support to successfully complete the project.
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